Blog News and events about Polaris Solutions!

Polaris is now Redgate certified!

by Clint Edmonson on November 16, 2017

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Polaris is proud to announce that we are officially registered as a Redgate certified consulting partner. Our expertise in DevOps and DB development combined with their best of breed tools has led to this natural partnership. They have developed what we feel is a complete portfolio of SQL Server development tools to enable our clients to realize DevOps for their databases.

Redgate makes ingeniously simple software used by more than 800,000 IT professionals and is the leading Microsoft SQL Server tools vendor. Redgate's philosophy is to design highly usable, reliable tools which elegantly solve the problems developers and DBAs face every day, and help them to adopt database DevOps. As a result, more than 100,000 companies use products in the Redgate SQL Toolbelt, including 91% of those in the Fortune 100.

Redgate's SQL Toolbelt contains the industry-standard products for SQL Server development, deployment, backup, and monitoring. Together, they make you productive, your team agile, and your data safe.

Thousands of SQL Server professionals rely on the SQL Toolbelt every day, because it’s reliable, easy to use, and plugs in to the tools they already use for application development.

We look forward to helping our customers craft amazing solutions with this powerful suite of products.

 


State of Agile 2017 Report Is Out!

by Clint Edmonson on April 21, 2017

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The Version One annual State of Agile report is one of our most anticipated events each year. One might be tempted to write this report off since it is produced by a vendor. And while we admit we do see a smidge of natural bias towards their own products, the population sample size is large enough to yield interesting and valuable trend information that reflects what we’re also seeing in the market as well.

Our top 5 takeaways from the 11th Annual State of Agile Report:

  • Agile software tools are [finally;] taking over for simple electronic lists and spreadsheets
  • Companies are beginning to formally measure business value delivered
  • Scrum rituals (short sprints, daily standups, sprint reviews & retros) are the most widely adopted agile techniques
  • Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is the top “packaged” agile framework being used today
  • Company culture friction continues to be the biggest challenge to adopting agile

At 17 pages, the report provides plenty of details on what’s working in practice and contains tons of actionable insight for organizations, coaches, and teams looking to gain traction or improve their practices. We highly recommend you download it and give it a read. You can find it here.

 


AGILE LUNCH: Enterprise Adoption of Visual Studio Team Services

by Clint Edmonson on March 09, 2017

 

If you are a Team Foundation Server customer, you may already understand how valuable it is to bring your teams together in one place to orchestrate your entire development lifecycle. Now that Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) has been launched, there are many compelling reasons to consider migrating your on-premises Team Foundation Server to the cloud. 

Powerful coding tools

Please join us as we share our key insights and action plans for migrating your enterprise to VSTS.

Our partners at OpsHub will share their story about integrating VSTS with other enterprise services in their organization, and how it has helped them create a more productive and customer focused ecosystem. They will take us through their journey from the pre-agile phase to the customer-obsessed phase and share their insights on leveraging the power of integration to deliver quality product and services in a shorter cycle time. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Highlights of VSTS capabilities
  • Navigating the ALM and DevOps ecosystem
  • Migration Considerations
  • Integration with other enterprise services
  • Next Steps

Complimentary lunch will be provided but seating is limited.

Register Now:

  St. Louis, MO on Wednesday, March 29  from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

  Downer’s Grove, IL on Thursday, March 30 from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

 


Debugging Agile Adoption

by Clint Edmonson on February 22, 2017

We are frequently asked about our approach to agile adoption in both the small and at large. The answer of course, in true cheeky consulting form is “it depends”. At their root, agile adoptions and transformations are simply a form of organizational change management.

A Simple Model for Enacting Change

There are a number of different models developed within the business community at large to address change management. One particular model we like and refer to frequently is the Lippett-Knoster model pioneered by Dr. Mary Lippett with continuing work and evangelism by Timothy Knoster. The model, presented below, provides a simple but powerful formula for enacting sustainable change within an organization.

 

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The components of this model are straightforward, actionable, and in our humble opinions, very achievable.

  • Vision – a compelling reason for the new state of the organization that everyone can understand and accept
  • Skills – the necessary proficiencies for teams to operate in the new state of the organization
  • Incentives – compelling advantages and motivations for team members to buy into and move to the new desired state
  • Resources – the prerequisites, tools, facilities, and other support are present to enable the change to occur
  • Plan – a clear set of steps to implement and measure the progress of the desired state change

This model scales nicely and forms the basis for many of the change management strategies we build with our clients.

When Things Go Wrong

Where this model truly shines for us is in the analysis of the breakdowns that occur during adoption when components of this model are missing. You can see the effects below:

 

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In a mindful examination of the landscape, we typically see several of these behaviors manifesting themselves. It’s common for several components to be failing and/or missing at the same time. This generally leads to tweaks of individual teams as well as changes at higher levels of the organization based on the intensity of the behaviors.

As agents of change, we encounter these breakdowns almost daily. These insights allow us to pinpoint exactly where things are going wrong and brainstorm corrective steps to get things back on track.

 


5 Key Enterprise IT Trends in 2017

by Clint Edmonson on February 07, 2017

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The world of IT is moving quickly, with advancements coming at a rapid pace. If you blink you’ve missed something. If your goals one year have you focused on a specific service area such as legacy application updates or new products, you may not be aware of new and important growth in other areas like advancements in cloud hybridization or the newest development patterns. Given their importance to our field, we bring you 5 key trends we see emerging in Enterprise IT development in 2017.

ALM in the Cloud

ALM in the cloud is certainly not new. But with CIO Magazine calling out enterprise in the cloud as one of their trends for 2017, it stands to reason that the associated tools and processes would need to follow them there. ALM touches every part of development and the multiple handoffs required for any sizable project. An ALM cloud implementation needs to be as nuanced as an organization’s development process.

Looking at the different possibilities will help you develop a cloud based ALM plan that meets the unique needs of your organizations. Perhaps you’ll need to evaluate the viability of a single stack versus a hybrid solution for a cloud ALM implementation. Or you want to understand if you’re ready for a full implementation or only want to organically build a little at a time. These are the kinds of questions that need to be addressed before you commit to a cloud based ALM solution.

Enterprise Agile Adoption at Scale

Agile adoption is a little like the difference between the fresh development that occurs in a startup and the technical debt that a long-standing enterprise carries. A smaller organization can shift process gears more quickly, or may even have had the advantage of starting with Agile.

A large organization, on the other hand, has established processes, in-flight projects, and multiple teams that need to buy in, and need time to adjust to change. For the organization, or even the team within a larger organization, that wants to adopt a new methodology at scale, a clear plan and measures of success must be established.

DevOps and Containerization

Containerization is another not-really-new-but-new technology that will see a surge this year, and for all the right reasons. While containers have been part of Linux for some time, they have recently gained popularity thanks to applications like Docker and acceptance by large companies like Microsoft, IBM and AWS.

More lightweight than a virtual machine, containers give applications some portability, making it possible for DevOps teams to move whole containers from a dev machine to testing, or from a staging environment to the cloud. This flexibility helps to solve a concern organizations have had with cloud providers almost since they found out about the cloud – the issue of lock-in. As long as the underlying operating system is the same, containers can be transported from one service to another, creating leverage when contract negotiation time rolls around.

Evaluation for fit, plotting the right course with an emerging technology, and ensuring it’s managed and maintained so that it continues to be an asset and not a burden, are the biggest challenges companies will have with containers in 2017.

Microservices and Mesh Applications

Breaking problems down into smaller problems, and solving those, was the core that defined software engineering. Abstraction was core of object-oriented design. And yet, somewhere along the way, those concepts were sacrificed on the pyre of monolithic applications and complex, tightly bound code bases.

The good news is that microservices and domain driven design are taking us back to those pure concepts, and evolving them to meet the needs of the modern-day enterprise.

In lieu of a few colossal applications running an organization’s functions, we see a move toward development of encapsulated services that can be leveraged over and over across an enterprise computing platform. This will lead to organizational level standardization of common services like authentication, roles based access and authorization. When done right and architected well, this encapsulation and standardization may lead to the ever-elusive positive user experience.

What’s more important for these development concepts, and another part of the trend we’ll see in 2017, is microservices causing a shift in the way applications are built. More importantly, there will be a shift in the way IT organizations approach application development and full lifecycle management. This could even lead to a restructuring of the IT organization itself, making DevOps a necessity in companies where they were previously silo’d functional areas.

Application Refreshes and Modernization

Maintaining legacy IT systems in the face of digital disruption can be an enormous drain on a company’s resources. These systems are sometimes shackled to on-premises implementations. Other times they are tightly coupled with other legacy systems through home grown interfaces. Or they may be custom built applications answering a need that wasn’t serviced by commercial software in the past.

While modernization has claimed a spot on CIOs’ top initiatives for years, the combination of cloud services, SaaS and subscription based software, plus new development paradigms like microservices and frameworks like Angular and React, make this a trend that’s hard to ignore any longer.

The intent with modernization and even full re-architecting of applications is to leverage advances in information technology to build better services that save the organization time and money. Evaluating and fully understanding why applications need to be refreshed, and what the total cost of doing so are important steps companies need to take in 2017 before embarking on costly and disruptive development projects.

 

Want to discuss these trends in more detail? Contact us today for an executive briefing to learn more about how these emerging trends will affect your enterprise.